To safeguard the youth and the poor, folks from all walks of life participated in a virtual human chain demanding a raise in the prices of cigarettes and other tobacco products through imposing specific supplementary duties in the upcoming 2022-23 national budget.
At the virtual human chain that took place at 11 AM on Sunday on Facebook, participants uploaded their pictures holding festoons and placards with the demands and posted them using #RaiseTaxSaveLivesBD hashtags.
The event was organised by the research and advocacy organisation Progga (Knowledge for Progress) with support from Campaign for Tobacco-free Kids (CTFK).
Anti-tobacco organisations demand that in the upcoming budget, the retail price for the low-tier cigarettes should be set at Tk50 for 10 sticks, followed by Tk32.50 as specific supplementary duty (SD).
In the medium tier, the retail price should be set at Tk75 and supplementary duty at Tk48.75; and in the high tier, the retail price and supplementary duty for 10 sticks should be followed by Tk120 and Tk78.00 respectively.
In the premium tier, the retail price should be Tk150 for 10 sticks, supplemented by Tk97.50 as supplementary tax. The realisation of the tax and pricing proposals would encourage 1.3 million adults to quit smoking, the deaths of 4.45 lakh adults and 4.48 lakh youths, and earn Tk9,200 crores in additional revenues.
For non-filtered bidis, the retail price should be Tk25 for 25 sticks, followed by Tk11.25 as a specific supplementary duty. In the case of smokeless tobacco products, the retail prices for 10 grams of jarda should be Tk45, followed by Tk27 as 60% supplementary duty. For 10 grams of gul, the retail price should be Tk25 and supplemented by Tk15 as a specific supplementary duty.
Progga Executive Director ABM Zubair said, "Increasing tobacco products' prices by imposing specific supplementary duties would raise government revenues and reduce tobacco-related deaths and losses."